All the pre-referendum claims made for our future trading position within Europe are now exposed as so much hot air
Like Vladimir and Estragon, the British right is waiting for its Godot. For years, Godot manifested himself in the unlikely form of the German car industry. English nationalists invoked its name as if it were a spell that could protect the nation from hard times and harder questions.
From Boris Johnson and Michael Gove in the Leave campaign, through to Iain Duncan Smith and David Davis today, they convinced 17 million or so voters that BMW would ensure we could have our cake and eat it too. “The first calling point of the UK’s negotiator immediately after #Brexit will not be Brussels, it will be Berlin, to strike a deal,” announced Davis in May 2016. German car manufacturers would want access to the British market. The German government would listen and grant us privileged access to the single market in return.